March 1, 2010
Mitsubishi Electric has said that it has completed construction of PV Cell Plant #2, a 50MW solar cell production facility at its Nakatsugawa Works Iida Factory in Nagano Prefecture. When ramped in 2011, the new plant will give Mitsubishi an annual capacity of 270MW. The company noted that the new facility will also produce monocrystalline-silicon cells and start production by March 2011.
December 23, 2009
Every year we dig deep into the archive of web statistics to rediscover the most popular news stories that have captured the attention of readers in that year. While we have found that in previous years, one or two stories stand out above all others from a pageviews perspective, this year more than four stories are in close contention for the ‘top spot’ and barely a cat's whisker separates the Number 1 and Number 2 stories. In what could hint at the battle that lies ahead in the thin-film realm, the top story for 2009 was Nanosolar's announcement of volume production plans for its unique CIGS thin-film modules. A certain level of controversy had surrounded Nanosolar as the early hype had not been followed up with any concrete plans for scaling the technology. The thin-film start-up's order backlog also demonstrated that it can actually compete with market leader First Solar.
December 2, 2009
Organic photovoltaics developer Solarmer Energy has achieved the highest conversion efficiency recorded so far for a plastic OPV champion cell—7.9%. The aperture-area test results, recently certified by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, represent an improvement over independent exams conducted a few months ago at Newport Corp.’s Technology and Application Center’s PV Lab, where cell efficiencies of 7.6% and module efficiencies of 3.9% were recorded.
September 15, 2009
The race to higher conversion efficiencies in volume production for both monocrystalline and multicrystalline cells continues with news that Canadian Solar plans to boost cell performance to 18.5% and 16.8%, respectively. This will be accomplished by using several advances that include improvements in screen printing techniques, better texturization and a modified selective emitter process. The company said that these successful R&D projects will be migrated to production lines in the fourth quarter of 2009.
September 9, 2009
After staying relatively quiet for much of the past year, thin-film PV manufacturer Nanosolar has come out with a full docket of announcements: the completion of its 640MW panel-assembly factory near Berlin celebrated during an event attended by the German Minister of the Environment and other dignitaries; the start of serial roll-to-roll production of its flexible copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide cells in the company’s San Jose facility; $4.1 billion in panel purchases from customers--including some of the world’s largest utility companies; NREL-verified cell efficiencies up to 16.4%; and new technical details of both its printed CIGS cell technology and utility-scale panels.
July 22, 2009
Allora Minerals has been busy, acquiring the remaining assets of OptiSolar, receiving preliminary approval to garner millions of Euro in grants for German projects, and getting shareholder approval to change its name to that of another company whose assets it's buying, EPOD Solar (ESI). The OptiSolar deal will bring the once-promising thin-film PV company's intellectual property and its manufacturing and R&D facilities in Northern California into ESI's portfolio.
July 3, 2009
DuPont and the U.S. Department of Energy will collaborate in a $9 million solar research program to develop ultrathin moisure-barrier material solutions for flexible thin-film photovoltaics. Some $3 million of the funding for the three-year effort comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with DuPont contributing the remaining $6 million.
April 23, 2009
Roth & Rau AG has acquired Ortner cleanroom logistic systems GmbH for an undisclosed sum in an effort to meet increasing demand from customers to support crystalline and thin-film equipment servicing, spare parts and other support activities. Ortner, based in Dresden, is a specialist in tool installations and automation company. Ortner’s existing management and skilled workforce will continue to operate the business as a subsidiary of Roth & Rau.
July 3, 2008
Researchers of hybrid solar cell fabrication at Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich have ordered an advanced sputtering tool from U.K.-based Surrey NanoSystems. The tool will be used in the creation of high-efficiency interconnection templates for organic materials, thereby greatly increasing the efficiency of the cells, according to LMU.
May 12, 2008
SunPower Corporation has said that its Gen 3 solar cell technology that is currently under development has reached cell efficiencies of 23.4 percent using standard five-inch wafers. SunPower claims that this is a new world record for a large area solar cell. "This is a step function increase from our 22 percent efficient Gen 2 technology, which has been in mass production since last year," said Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower Corp. "Credit for this achievement goes to our world- class research and development team led by Dick Swanson and Bill Mulligan, as well as to our talented engineering group."

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